10th Grade ELA : Unit #11 - New Beginnings, Community Identities, and Remembrances : Lesson #2

January 8, 2011: Why is it Important to Remember, Share, and Reflect

Objective: SWBAT articulate their experiences and explore the long-term impact of the January 8th mass shooting on the Tucson community by sharing their ideas and experiences.
Standards: W.9-10.2 W.9-10.2f W.9-10.5 SL.9-10.1c
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Let's Get Started: Defining Community - 10 minutes

For homework, the students defined community in their own words and gave examples of the different communities they belong to.

As the students walk in the January 8th the Community Remembers powerpoint is on the board. They begin by sharing their definitions of community with each other. Once the group comes to a consensus on a definition for community, one student writes it on the board.  

Next I go around the room and ask each group to share their definition of community. As they share their definitions, I ask them questions to get them thinking more deeply about what a community is and how people function in a community.  Eventually, I want the students to pose the clarifying questions to propel the conversation forward (SL 9-10 1c).  

The last question I ask is, "What is the difference between community and culture?

Today we will reflect on the events of January 8th, 2011, what happened that day and how has it impacted our community.  Next class, we will move onto our service learning projects. Before students can choose where they want to volunteer, they need to affirm their understanding of community and the role it plays in culture. 



2 Building Knowledge: Community and Responsibility - 15 minutes

Next, we transition to the different communities student belong to.  I ask them to share with their groups and add any additional communities that arise from the discussion.  Then I ask them to choose their top two communities and write the on the board.  

Once the students are back in their seats, I pose the next question, "Do you choose your communities or do communities adopt you?"  

I can use examples written on the board to guide students in the discussion. For example, I tell the students that I own a Wii but I rarely play.  Does that mean I am a gamer?  Students who consider themselves members of the gamer community can bring relevant points to the discussion and lead into the next question, "What responsibilities do we have to our communities?"

By writing their important communities on the board, students have a reference for the discussion and they can see the similarities and differences between their peers (SL.9-10.1). 

3 Building Knowledge: January 8th, 2011 What Do We Remember? - 30 minutes

Now, it is time to focus on a specific event in the Tucson Community.  Today is the third anniversary of the mass shooting on January 8, 2011. I live in Congresswoman Gifford's district and I am involved with education public policy. I remember that day clearly, many of the people who were shot are mentors and friends. The activities today are deeply personal and I want my students to see that how unexpected events impact a community and why it is necessary to remember for a community to prosper. 

I put the following questions on the board and as the students to share their thoughts with their groups and then be prepared to share with the class. 

  • What brings a community together?
  • What rules govern a community?
  • What is a witness?

 Following the discussion of these questions, I share this recent news report that recaps the event and talks about local memorials to the shooting. After the video, students share their reactions.

Then we watch a video that focuses on remembering the victims and the survivors of the shooting. Again the students share their initial responses to the video.  Then I ask them, "What are the responsibilities of the community members who can time-witnessed the event?"

At this point, I want to step back and allow the students to facilitate the discussion (SL 9-10 1c).


Think Time and Sharing
Trust and Respect

Once we started discussing the events of January 8th, my students got really quiet.  It was clear that they were thinking and really trying to remember not only what happened on that Saturday but also all the events following the shooting.  They asked each other a lot of questions. The silent pauses were longer than normal.  Some of the students who went to the same middle school shared that they had made cards for Congresswoman Giffords and the other victims and survivors.  They said it was had to remember the difference.  Who lived and who died? One young woman pointed out that Christina Taylor Green would have been their age at the time of the shooting if she had lived.  The student requested that I pull up her memorial page on the smartboard.

The somber nature of the class was a bit unsettling for me.  I didn't want to upset them, however I did want them to consider the impact of the events of that day.  One of the students ask me not to video this part of class.  He said he was not sure why he didn't want me to film however it just didn't seem like the right thing to do.  I had already put the phone away, so I did not film any discussions after the initial conversation on community.

They trust me to share their work whether it is written or on video. I can respect the request not to be filmed today. 

4 Building Knowledge: Community Responsibility to Survivors and Victems - 20 minutes

At this point, I want to guide the class discussion in a different direction.  I need to get them ready to write.  I will continue with a whole group discussion, I will pose the questions, but I will let the students guide the direction of the discourse (SL 9-10 .1c)

The first question I ask is, "What are the lasting changes the January 8th shooting had on the Tucson community?" Since these students were 7th graders when the shooting happened, they remember it. It is easier for them to talk about their personal memories. Is if far more difficult to put it in the context of the entire community.  

Next, I ask them, "What responsibility does the Tucson community have to the victims and survivors of the shooting?" This question directly relates to the topic of our unit on the role of community and the individual within that community.

Preparing to Write
Connection to Prior Knowledge
5 Wrap Up: Writing Our Memories and Responsibilities - 15 minutes

The final section of this lesson focuses on synthesizing their memories with defining the events of January 8, 2011 as an historical event.  I put three questions on the smartboard. I explain that these three questions are an essay prompt.  The introduction should define their memories, the body should expand into the community perceptions, and the conclusion should look to the future (W 9-10. 2). 

  • January 8th, 2011—what do you remember about that day and/or the days and weeks immediately after the shooting?
  • How do you think the Tucson Community should remember the events of that time?
  • What do you think the long-term impact of the shooting will be on our community and country?

The first two questions the students have already explored as part of the class discussion. So they can use their notes from the discussion as a pre-writing activity that can frame their response (W 9-10.5).

The final question asks them to formulate a conclusion on the long-term impact of the shooting. We did not discuss this in class, so each individual student will have to develop their own ideas about the future and our community for their conclusion.  I tell them that the conclusion of their essay, the answer to question three, should connect to the information that they share in the first part of the essay (W 9-10 2f). The conclusion of their essay should wrap up their thoughts and look to the future.